Sikorsky, February 09, 2010 - STRATFORD, Connecticut, USA - Sikorsky Search and Rescue (SAR) S-92® helicopters are expected to provide turnkey helicopter services in the United Kingdom well into the 21st century as the Ministry of Defence and Department of Transport today announced the selection of the Soteria Consortium as the preferred bidder to provide the harmonized Search and Rescue Helicopter (SAR-H) service. Sikorsky Aircraft, which manufactures the S-92 helicopter, is a member of the Soteria team, along with CHC, Thales and the Royal Bank of Scotland. Sikorsky is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. All of the parties will now enter into negotiations of contracts which are expected to lead to the final selection of Soteria to provide the SAR-H services.
“The S-92 helicopter has performed tremendously in the search and rescue mission, particularly in the U.K. during the last few years under the operation of CHC for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency,” said Carey Bond, President of the Sikorsky Global Helicopters business of Sikorsky Aircraft. “This announcement is a great validation of the aircraft’s capabilities, and we are proud to be part of the team chosen as the preferred bidder. The SAR S-92 helicopters today are doing exactly what our company founder, Igor Sikorsky, always knew that a helicopter would do -- save lives.”
The MOD and MCA together currently provide a 24-hour military and civil helicopter SAR service for the U.K. SAR region from 12 bases. The SAR helicopter service is currently provided by the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy and the civilian helicopter service under contract to the MCA. The Soteria contract will replace that arrangement. The MOD and MCA will continue to manage the service jointly.
Sikorsky S-92 helicopters operating in the United Kingdom had a record year of rescues in 2009, performing nearly 750 missions. CHC Search and Rescue currently operates four SAR S-92 helicopters from two bases covering territory in the North Atlantic and the North Sea. Sikorsky initially developed the S-92 helicopter for over-water search and rescue in demanding and challenging environments such as the North Sea and North Atlantic, where the MCA is in service.
The S-92 aircraft is the first helicopter in its class certified to the latest U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and European airworthiness safety standards. The S-92 helicopter features a Rotor Ice Protection System (RIPS), which allows the aircraft to operate in known icing conditions. RIPS has been certified by both North American and European aviation authorities and is available on S-92 helicopter military variants as well as commercial aircraft.
Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture and service. United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., provides a broad range of high technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.
This press release contains forward-looking statements concerning future aircraft procurement. Actual results may differ materially from those projected as a result of certain risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to changes in government procurement priorities and practices, budget plans or availability of funding or the ability of the parties to agree on implementing contracts, as well as other risks and uncertainties, including but not limited to those detailed from time to time in United Technologies Corporation’s Securities and Exchange Commission filing.